Public Administration Book Recognized

Richard Fording's book "Disciplining the Poor"

Richard Fording’s book Disciplining the Poor

From the October 2015 Desktop News | Dr. Richard C. Fording, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, received the Herbert Simon Book Award from the public administration section of the American Political Science Association for his book, Disciplining the Poor.

This is the third time Fording and co-authors Joe Soss and Sanford F. Schram have been recognized for their work on the 2011 study of poverty governance in the United States over the past four decades. The book previously won the Michael Harrington Award from the APSA, as well as the Oliver Cox Cromwell Award from the American Sociological Association.

“We tried to clarify the central role of race and how that plays into poverty governance in the last 40 years,” Fording said. “Our research was able to talk about how the United States has transformed the economy in many cases to a low-wage service economy. Intertwined in all of our research is the use of the poor as a political scapegoat by both parties.”

The book takes an unflinching look at the welfare policies and reforms in the United States post-World War II.

“It was a six-year process,” Fording said. “What we generally found was that the policies we’ve enacted have made poverty worse, rather than better.”

Minority races, specifically blacks, face incredible challenges to escape poverty, which could include underployment, earning money through extra-legal means and higher consequences if caught committing crimes.

“The fact is that the poor have the right to better opportunities, to work and to live above the poverty line,” Fording said.

Books published in 2009, 2010 and 2011 were eligible for the 2015 award. The book, Disciplining the Poor, won in its first year of eligibility.

The award was presented at the APSA’s annual meeting on Sept. 5 in San Francisco.